Movies From the Black Lagoon: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End-2007, Unrated

I'm going to start off here with a bold statement...wait for it...Direct to video films will become the premiere venue for decent horror movies. To prove my point I'll submit this direct to DVD sequel that far surpasses the theatrical installment. The first film was actually terrible. Just another installment in the - young adults go camping and run into a cannibalistic family - thriller genre. This sequel actually improves upon that premise (not a huge challenge I grant you) and offers at least one hero you can root for as well as a more in depth look at the villains and their customs.
It begins with a promising opening that finds a blond starlet cell phoning her agent to complain about her reality show gig on "The Ultimate Survivor". The dangers of cradling a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle are graphically illustrated when she fails to brake for the shuffling mountain dude who crosses her path and winds up getting launched into the asphalt. Here you get a modest surprise as she jumps out of her trendy sports car and appears genuinely concerned for her fellow man. Turns out to be her second mistake as the guy leaps from the ground and holds her steady so Pa can sneak up behind her and chop her in half.
Meanwhile, the other contestants show up and meet the program's host - Dale Murphy, U.S. Marine Corps, retired. He's a macho loud mouth but also holds some surprises as he gets in the face of one guy when he makes a derogatory comment about the south. Turns out Dale is local and doesn't tolerate ignorant punks who espouse racist viewpoints on Appalachia. Besides earning points for his sensitivity, Dale becomes the only hope for the contestants when they get on the cannibals' radar. He may be retired but he also turns out to be as resourceful as Rambo and is soon bearding the mutant flesh eaters in their own lair in an effort to save what's left (overs?) of his group after they have been captured.
This one works because it hearkens back to the 1970's genre films in which anyone could die at any time. The lack of star power helps in that regard. The budget here is lower than the one they had for the original but that's a good thing as the filmmakers give you more time with the villains. Some of that stuff is amazing. You get to observe their family structure, dining rituals, and you even meet their normal grandfather - who explains that they were born deformed after their watershed was polluted from toxins generated at a wood mill. You also get to observe their mating, hunting, and self-gratification habits but less said about them the better.
This one also benefits from great special effects, which illustrate the deadliness of common wood mill tools such as dynamite and industrial strength pulping machines. All that and you also get a terrific turn by "Black Flag" front man Henry Rollins, as the hard bitten Murphy. Direct to video is losing the stink that guys like Stephen Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme left on it and its proving to be the only place where you can experience seat of your pants thrills that don't have to worry about appealing to the masses by watering down their action until it's a PG-13 snooze fest.
Best Line: "They killed Mara and tied her to the roof of their truck."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@pennswoods.net.